If there’s one thing that you find in traveling around college hockey it is that no two rinks are alike. Each arena, whether old or new, large or small, urban or rural, has its own distinctive attributes. But there may be no rink in all of college hockey as distinctive as Yale’s own David S. Ingalls Rink. In fact, the New York Times named it the rink with the “Best Design” across all of America.
THE NAME, ARCHITECT
Named after former Yale men’s ice hockey captains David S. Ingalls ‘20 and David S. Ingalls Jr. ‘56, the rink was designed by famed architect Eero Saarinen ‘34 and dedicated in 1959. Gifts from the Ingalls family provided the bulk of the funding for its construction. Since hosting its first intercollegiate game on December 3, 1958, when the Bulldogs faced Northeastern, the rink has been an architectural marvel. The arena gets its distinctive exterior look from a humpbacked roof, supported by a 300-foot backbone. As a result, the building has been compared to a Norse helmet and a brontosaurus, but neither of those names stuck like the Yale Whale, the arena’s most common colloquialism.
The multi-million dollar renovation of Ingalls Rink was completed in 2010. Phase I included renovations to the existing press box on the home side of the rink, the addition of a new press box on the visitors’ side of the rink, refurbished exit doors on the South and East elevations, and the addition of lighting in the soffit that lines the ceiling along the perimeter walkway around the rink.
The rink slab was removed and replaced with a lower slab. A new entrance to the ice was built behind the visitors’ bench, near the varsity visiting team locker room. Outside the rink, a 14,000 square-foot underground addition on the Mansfield Street side houses both Yale varsity hockey teams along with lockers for other teams who use the rink.
During Phase II, the interior of the underground addition was fitted out. The men’s and women’s varsity locker rooms, a new strength and conditioning room and public locker rooms were included in this addition.
Phase III, included extensive work to the interior of the main building. A “hockey heritage area” was added inside the main entrance on the upper and lower levels. This area showcases Yale’s hockey history dating back to the first intercollegiate hockey game in America – Yale vs. Johns Hopkins in 1896. The lower area renovations include new bathrooms, a concession area and a renovated Schley Room for receptions.
All of the renovations were designed to preserve Ingalls’ distinctive architecture and charm while adding substantial capacity for all who use the facility.
OTHERS CALL IT HOME
The rink, hosts not only the Yale men’s and women’s varsity hockey teams, but also Yale Club Hockey, Yale College Intramural Hockey, university skating, and many other recreational skating groups. A busy staff oversees an ice surface and other amenities in the arena that are in almost constant use.